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Which US Olympian has the most medals in the Winter Olympics?

The multi-sport event officially started on 4 February in Beijing. We take a look at who is the Winter Games' most decorated US athlete ever.

The winter multi-sport event will officially start on 4 February in Beijing. We take a look at who's the Winter Games' most decorated US athlete ever.

The 2022 Winter Olympic Games, which will last 16 days, are underway in Beijing and venues near the neighboring towns of Yanqing and Chongli.

A total of 91 National Olympic Committees have qualified athletes - two less than four years earlier - and among them, there's Team USA, the nation with the second-most medals ever in Winter Olympics history (304), only beaten by Norway (368).

The most decorated US Winter Olympian

The record-holder for having won the most Winter Olympic medals for the US is Apolo Anton Ohno. Seattle native Ohno, who retired in 2010 at the Games held in Vancouver, was a short-track speed skating competitor who won eight medals (two gold, two silver, four bronze) through competition in three Winter Olympics.

He met success early, at the age of 14, when he became the youngest US national champion, back in 1997. He maintained his national dominance from 2001 to 2009, winning the title a total of 12 times.

In 1999, he became the youngest skater to win a World Cup event title and became the first American to win a World Cup overall title in 2001, which he lifted again in 2003 and 2005.

Ohno, who was inducted into the US Olympic Hall of Fame in 2019, also won 21 World Championship medals, with eight of them being gold.

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Football and boxing his early passions

Although Ohno has made history as a short-track speed skater, at an early age he wanted to go into football and boxing, but his father, Yuki Ohno, had him focus on other sports.

“He didn’t want me to play either of those two sports, so I had so much energy as a kid that he was just looking for any type of after-school activity. But while watching short-track speedskating with my dad during the 1994 Olympic Winter Games, I fell in love with the sport," he revealed.

Ohno ended up playing a major role in growing the popularity of the short track. The sport debuted as an Olympic medal sport in 1992 but was not widely known in the US back then.

A decade later, at the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City, it became much more popular, in large part due to Ohno.